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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Boycott’

16 International NGOs Condemn Israel’s Refusal to Support BDS Founder’s World Travels

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Jaffa and then to Acre in Israel as an adult, but he insists on counting himself as part of the indigenous people, as when he told the AP back in 2007, that the “Palestinians cannot possibly observe the same boycott guidelines as asked of internationals” and that the “indigenous population” is entitled to all services they can get from the system.

After marrying his wife, an Israeli Arab, Barghouti, was granted permanent residency in Israel, which he has enjoyed for the past 23 years. He holds a master’s degree in ethics from Tel Aviv University, and is pursuing a PhD. A petition drew more than 184,000 signatures asked the university to expel him, but he was never expelled.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency on the grounds that “he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner.”

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for a campaign of “targeted civil elimination” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.

Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is in charge of the fight against the BDS, said that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work.

Well, the Israeli system this month decided to deny the BDS leader one vital service: they will not renew his travel papers. Barghouti told the Arab press in response: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace.”

They could take away his Internet connection, of course.

Sixteen organizations from American, Asian, and European countries are demanding that Israel make it possible for Barghouti to travel around the world to sabotage Israeli commercial and national interests. But rather than addressing Israel’s foreign ministry (which is currently headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu), these NGOs sent their protest to the foreign ministers of 14 countries and international organizations, including, naturally, John Kerry of the USA, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for the European Union, Margot Wallström of Sweden, and Charles Flanagan of Ireland.

After relating Israel’s repressive attitude against its enemy within, the NGOs demanded that the foreign ministers “use the power and influence that resides in your office to impress on the Israeli government the absolute necessity of ceasing its repressive measures against Palestine’s civil leaders, and in particular to permit Omar Barghouti to play his full role, both inside Israel and without, in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Incidentally, any one of the 14 countries addressed by those NGOs could offer Omar Barghouti residency or citizenship and travel papers galore. There must be a reason why they haven’t so far.

David Israel

Ipsos Survey: One Third of American Students Support Boycotting Israel

Monday, May 30th, 2016

One third of American students believe boycotting Israel is justified and constitutes a legitimate means of applying political pressure on the Jewish State, according to a yet to be released Ipsos survey, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported. Ipsos is one of the world’s leading market research firms for hire, managed and controlled by research professionals, offering comprehensive global research programs in 87 countries.

The original Channel 2 story mistakenly assigned those statistics to the US population at large. It was later corrected.

The survey, which will be officially released in advance of an International conference on the struggle against BDS to open on Tuesday, polled a sample of 1,100 American students. It suggests that 33% find a boycott against Israel to be justified. A similar survey conducted in the UK found that 40% of the students there agree that boycotting Israel is legitimate.

The good news is that a 62% majority of US respondents believe that the BDS movement is a form of modern anti-Semitism. About 50% of Briton students also condemn the BDS as being anti-Semitic.

The anti-BDS international conference, titled, “Building Bridges and Fighting Boycotts,” is organized by Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon, in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress, Keren Hayesod, the American Center for Law and Justice, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America, Israel Bonds, StandWithUs, B’nai B’rith International, Hillel, and CAMERA. More than 1,500 are expected to participate, including students, representatives of anti-BDS organizations, Jewish American organizations, and opinion makers.

JNi.Media

Exclusive Interview: Danny Danon to Kick Off Anti-BDS Initiative at UN with 1500 College Students

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

In an interview Monday with The Jewish Press, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon outlined a plan of action aimed at leveling the playing field against the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement.

In less than two weeks, Jews around the world will start getting some much needed back-up in the battle against BDS, as Danny Danon, Israel’s envoy to the UN, rolls out a plan of action designed to unite, organize, and train those on the front lines.

“Young people are being effected by the propaganda,” said Danon, “if we don’t counter it, it will become their truth and reality. We have to stand, fight back, and show the world the real face of Israel”.

The initiative’s inaugural event, entitled “Ambassadors Against BDS”, will take place on May 31st when Israel’s Mission to the UN will host 1500 students, organizations, and agencies from around the world at a summit aimed at cultivating a cadre of able young ambassadors who will carry the message back to their campuses, armed with practical advice and the resources to take on the toxic atmosphere created by BDS.

“The goal of the event is to empower students from around the world – not just from the US – by giving them the tools they need to fight back. By doing it at the United Nations, in the General Assembly, we send a clear message that we will not be silent. We are a strong nation and we will overcome this wave of incitement against the State of Israel,” explained Danon, “We can win, but in order to win, we – the State of Israel and world Jewish communities – have to work together in order to be strong and effective.”

Although the initiative is being spearheaded by Israel’s Mission to the UN, other Israeli government Ministries are also behind the trailblazing effort to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allocated record funding last summer. “The Israeli government is very aware of the threat posed by BDS”, said Danon, “the Prime Minister takes it very seriously”.

Representatives from several Ministries will be arriving from Israel to take part in the May 31st event. The day will open with a plenary session in the UN General Assembly Hall and be followed by a series of professional panels, where experts from fields such as law and public diplomacy will work with students to hammer out guidelines and provide them with “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits to help implement a new cohesive plan of action.

BDS has been operating for almost 11 years. Its attempts to delegitimize Israel by pressuring businesses, intimidating academics, bullying artists, and the spreading of lies and messages of hate against Jews and Israel on college campuses, have seen more success than previous boycott attempts due to their centralized organization. “I see the work being done by the other side, the way they are organized on college campuses. I know that we can, and we must, be united as well. It’s crucial to understand that this needs to be a joint effort in order to be effective”.

Danon knows there are some people in Israel and here in the United States who think it’s best to ignore BDS, but he’s not one of them. “We cannot and should not ignore the BDS movement, it will not go away. We cannot sit idly by and watch an organized group bashing Israel, in the process of actively trying to delegitimize the State of Israel. Our economy is strong, but we can’t ignore the chilling effect of companies that think twice before investing in Israeli businesses. I don’t think we should wait until the moment when we see the numbers going down, we need to tackle it in advance”.

Although “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits will be available online after the summit, Danon is urging all college students that face anti-Semitism on campus to attend the summit on May 31st. “Registration is free and still open. I encourage all students who can, to participate, to make the effort, to come for one day to the UN. Together, we can proceed with structure, and move forward”.
To register for Ambassadors Against BDS click here.
 

Stephanie Granot

NJ State Senate Unanimously Rejects BDS for Pension Fund

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The New Jersey State Senate has unanimously rejected the Palestinian Authority-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

A bill requiring the state’s public worker pension fund to divest from companies that boycott Israel was approved in a 39-0 vote, NJ.com reported Monday.

The State Assembly must still vote on the measure (S1923), however. Under the legislation, the state Division of Investments would be unable to invest the public workers’ $68.6 billion pension fund in companies that support the boycott.

Those funds already invested with such companies must be removed within the next 18 months, except for companies providing “humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through either a governmental or non-governmental organization (NGO) unless it is also engaging in prohibited boycotts.”

New Jersey has one of the largest Jewish populations in the United States. But the state also prohibits its pension fund from investing in businesses with ties to Iran, Sudan and Northern Ireland.

“New Jersey cannot support such biased practices as those of the BDS against our sister state,” state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said in a statement.

“Israel has long been a vibrant trading partner, ally and friend with our state, and making sure that we are not investing in any company that seeks to hurt the interests of Israel or its people through boycotts, divestments and sanctions will send a clear message that we stand against this kind of veiled discrimination.”

“I think this bill sends a very clear message to our friends in Israel that New Jersey has your back,” State Senator Jim Beach (D-Camden) added.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Human Rights Watch Suing 3 Councils in High Court over BDS

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) has taken Swansea, Gwyneedd and Leicester councils to the High Court in London, alleging their boycott of Israeli goods is anti-Semitic and violates the 2010 Equality Act.

The group noted on their Facebook page: “We’re in the #‎HighCourt today and tomorrow about The Labour Party’s Leicester City Council & City and County of Swansea & Gwynedd Council’s #‎Antisemitic #‎Boycott motions. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.”

Several local councils across the UK voted to boycott Israeli goods after 2009, when Israel refused to embrace the Hamas’ need to shoot rockets at its civilian population.

In 2010, Swansea council was seeking contracts with Veolia, a company connected to a project building a light railway in eastern Jerusalem. But then a motion was put before the council stating the project “not only contravenes UN demands but is in contravention of international law,” since the UN “has demanded that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported.”

Several council members called on the council to not do business with “any company in breach of international law or UN obligations or demands, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant legislation.” The motion was approved.

Andrew Sharland, an attorney for Leicester’s council, which in 2014 approved a similar boycott of Israeli goods, said the JHRW is trying to “stifle criticisms of Israel.”

“What this challenge really concerns is criticism of the State of Israel, and the claimant’s desire to suppress it,” he said.

Following the 2014 vote, JHRW issued a statement saying, “Leicester City Council has taken steps down an anti-Semitic path under the guise of helping community relations in Leicester. Frankly this amounts to a get-of-out-town order to Leicester Jews.”

In 2014, Gwynedd council also passed a motion calling for a trade embargo against Israel, condemning the “attacks by the Israeli state on the territory of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.” Just to make sure they did not come across as anti-Semites, Gwynedd council added, “It must be made clear that the proposal condemned the Israeli state and not the Jewish religion.”

The British government earlier this year issued guidelines for public authorities which say these boycotts are “inappropriate” without formal legal sanctions or embargoes by the national government. In fact, the Cabinet Office has said these boycotts “undermine good community relations, poison and polarize debate, weaken integration and fuel anti-Semitism.”

But Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party has been ridding itself of an industrial-size stash of anti-Semitic members in recent days, criticized the government’s warning against BDS as an “attack on local democracy.”

David Israel

France Snubbed Israeli Offer of Advanced Counter Terror Technology

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Nearly a year before Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists tore apart a beautiful Paris night, an Israeli company offered terrorist tracking software to France.

It was just after the January 2015 slaughter by a dual Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda terrorist cells at the Paris offices of the satiric Charlie Hebdo magazine, where 12 people were killed, and the Jewish Hyper Cacher kosher market, just before the start of the Sabbath, where four people died.

Nearly a year prior, four people died at the Jewish Museum of Brussels in a similar attack, also by a Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist with French citizenship.

The advanced technology could have allowed French security officials pick up the signals that would have red-flagged the terrorists who murdered 130 people and wounded 368 more on November 13, 2015.  It was only last month that the mastermind of that attack was finally tracked down and caught.

According to a report this week on the U.S.-based Fox News network, the data-mining technology would have helped French authorities “connect all the dots” in the Islamist extremist community, because it works by analyzing and matching up fragmented intelligence reports from several different national and international databases. The software then provides the most up-to-date information available on potential terrorists for its clients, such as counter terrorism agents.

The offer was made to the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI) of France, the country’s main intelligence agency, in accordance with a pledge made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work closely with Europe on enhancing security following attacks in France and Brussels. In Israel, that was seen as a call to share intelligence and technology.

“In Paris or Brussels or San Bernardino or Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, terror must be condemned equally and it must be fought equally,” Netanyahu warned at the time.

But Israel’s offer was rejected.

An Israeli counter terror specialist familiar with the technology and the company told FoxNews.com, “French authorities liked it but the official came back and said there was a higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology.

“The discussion just stopped.”

Instead, Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists carried out a series of eight attacks terror attacks, including several suicide bombings, on November 13, 2015, in central Paris. President Francois Hollande called the attacks an “act of war” by ISIS. They were planned in Syria, organized in Belgium and carried out with help from citizens of France. All of the known attackers were EU citizens who had fought with Da’esh in Syria.

The European Union is now paying the price for its unswerving commitment to uphold the “rights” of the Palestinian Authority, right or wrong, against Israel even at the cost of its own security. The EU has been directly involved in the funding and construction of infrastructure, homes and schools by Palestinian Authority Arabs on Israeli-controlled land in Area C under the Oslo Accords, despite its illegality. The EU has also been supportive of a boycott against Israeli-produced goods, even going so far as to issue guidelines urging its member states to label products manufactured in post-1967 Jewish communities as non-Israeli, regardless of the citizenship of the producers.

The European Union has just barely avoided an outright stance supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

France complied – it obviously agreed with the stance, nor is President Hollande’s dislike for Prime Minister Netanyahu any national secret – and the bill has now come due for French hatred at the top.

The British Labour Party is similarly afflicted with rampant anti-Semitism. What price will the UK end up paying for its love of Arab hatred?

Hana Levi Julian

How to Answer an Israel Boycott

Monday, April 25th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary website}

Friends of Israel have watched with alarm as the BDS — boycott, sanction, divest — movement has sought a beachhead in this country on college campuses. The BDSers have failed with most academic institutions rejecting calls to divest from companies that do business with Israel. But just as insidious are the efforts to exploit scholarly associations in order to try and ban contacts with Israeli schools and scholars. The first great success they had was with the American Studies Association, which voted to boycott Israel in 2013. Since then others, such as the National Women’s Studies Association, have followed in their footsteps. These boycotts have been roundly condemned as both discriminatory and unhelpful to the cause of peace by reputable scholars and university presidents. But that’s left those who consider these attempts to exploit any influence these groups possess to aid in a war that aims at the destruction of the Jewish state frustrated at their inability to stop a determined minority of Israel-haters from hijacking organizations whose purpose has nothing to do with the politics of the Middle East.

But it turns out there is something that can be done about it. With the help of some enterprising legal minds, a number of prominent members of the American Studies Association are suing the ASA and the leaders behind the boycott of Israel in federal court. On the surface, that sounds like a nuisance suit that might be a waste of the court system’s time. But a closer look at the effort shows that this legal attack on the BDS movement is on solid ground.

Legal scholars Eugene Kontorovich and Steven Davidoff Solomon laid out the rationale for the suit in an article in the Wall Street Journal back in December.

In passing the boycott resolution, the ASA violated the terms of its corporate charter, which just happened to be approved by Congress when it was founded and the District of Columbia Non-Profit Corporation Act that requires an organization to operate only within the provisions of its charter. Promoting a campaign to stigmatize Israelis and to deny them access to U.S. institutions is not only an act of despicable prejudice. It has nothing to do with the ASA’s purpose of promoting scholarship about American studies and therefore changes the very nature of the group.

According to Jerome Marcus, lead counsel for the plaintiffs:

This case stands for the simple proposition that nonprofit corporations must pursue the lawful purposes for which they are established, for which they receive nonprofit status, and for which they raise charitable contributions.

By stepping beyond the purposes for which it was founded in order to become a vehicle for political advocacy, the ASA violated that charter, which is not only filed with the IRS in order to maintain its non-profit status but is, in legal terms, a contract with its members. Moreover, the method by which the ASA leaders managed to pass the resolution also violated the rules stated in that same charter.

Can this effort succeed in brushing back the ASA as well as setting a precedent that may serve to deter other groups from being hijacked in this manner? While there is no way of knowing in advance how the federal courts will decide, the prospects for the suit are better than you might think.

There are legal precedents for non-profits being compelled to abide by the terms of their founding documents. The chief merit of the suit is that the violation of the ASA’s charter cannot be reasonably denied. Boycott advocates claim that the fact that the United States supports Israel brings activism against the Jewish state under the rubric of American studies but this is rubbish. Whatever one may think about Israel, waging an economic war against it or discriminating against its institutions and citizens in no way advances the purposes of scholarly work on specifically American topics. The only way for this to be conceivably possible is for the group to have transformed itself from one dedicated to scholarship into a political organization. And that is precisely what the lawsuit alleges the leaders of the group did when they pushed this resolution through to passage. But by doing so without formally amending their constitution, they violated the law.

Nor can the boycott organizers claim that the vote taken at their convention is implicit permission from the members to do just that and to change the ASA’s purpose. One problem with that claim is that the vote did not conform to the terms of the group’s bylaws. In that case, the indecent haste of the Israel-haters undermined their authority to act.

Nor is there any legal or political precedent that might give the ASA’s leadership the right to act in this manner. Contrary to what one might assume, during the campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa neither the ASA nor most other similarly constituted groups boycotted that nation. If it had and gotten away with such conduct, it might have been reasonable for its members to think that a similar attack against Israel might be legal even if there is absolutely no analogy between the circumstances of a democratic state with a Jewish majority defending itself against foes determined to destroy it and the white minority regime in South Africa.

Moreover, the terms of the boycott are such that they leave no room for doubt as to the political purpose. The boycott is not rooted in claims of discrimination against Arabs or the manner in which democratic Israel treats Palestinians. Its terms call not merely for any Israeli institution or scholar to disassociate themselves from their country’s policies but to work to change its borders and to potentially replace it with a Palestinian state — the stated goal of Hamas and even that of the moderate Palestinian Authority that regards all of pre-1967 Israel as “occupied” territory.”

Let’s not mince words about the basic purpose of Israel boycotts. Those who advocate for them are seeking to treat the one Jewish state on the planet differently than any other country. By denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination in their ancient homeland and the right of self-defense against those who seek its elimination, the boycotters are practicing a form of discrimination. Though anti-Zionists claim not to be prejudiced against Jews, what they are doing is an act of bias. Acts of bias against Jews are anti-Semitism.

The perversion of a group that was founded to promote scholarship about America into one that aims at attacking Israel is a scandal. But as this suit shows, it is also illegal. Let’s hope that the courts heed the strong arguments in the filing and put the ASA and the entire scholarly world on notice that such illegal and prejudicial conduct will not be tolerated. At the very least, it will stand as a warning to other such associations that they cannot take part in illegal boycotts of the Jewish state with impunity.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/how-to-answer-an-israel-boycott/2016/04/25/

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